Serge Planton, from Météo France, first reminded us that according to the Météo France simulations, in the southwest quarter of France (zone which includes the Pyrenees mountain range), the rise in temperatures will be between +1.1° and +2.1 degrees for 2021-2050 in comparison to the reference period (1961-1990). These forecasts, which do not consider future greenhouse gas emissions, are due to the inertia of the climate system, which is responding to past emissions. In mountainous regions, a temperature increase of 2º may be considered as an elevation of 300 m, having an impact on the survival of the glaciers and certain living species. The simulations carried out by researchers from Météo France indicate that snowfalls will decrease significantly in the near future (2020-2050) and that droughts will spread in time and space.
Glacier d’Ossoue, Vignemale, 1911 © L. Gaurier
Glacier d’Ossoue, Vignemale, 2011 © P. René
In view of this climatic evolution already underway, in particular, as a consequence of the summer temperatures increase, Pyrenean glaciers are shrinking. Pierre René, glaciologist and president of the Moraine association, gives as an example the Ossue glacier in Vignemale, which has lost between 5 and 7 hectares since 2000, and which currently has a surface area of only 45 hectares. Even though the permanence of the glaciers depends on other parameters in addition to summer temperatures, including exposure and rainfall, by the middle of the 21st century, the Pyrenees will probably not have any glaciers as such (with a surface area of more than two hectares), but just fragments of dead ice. This thawing will have an impact on the biodiversity around the glaciers, and on the landscapes and peak itineraries. As the existing surface area is already quite reduced, water resources should not be significantly affected by their total disappearance.
To read the full article: La République des Pyrénées.
For further information: Association Moraine.